Belfast Telegraph

Homeowners warned over property tax

Tens of thousands of "ghost estate" homeowners who were exempted from paying the household charge will be forced to pay the new property tax.

When the Annual Household Charge was introduced last year, around 43,000 homeowners were told they would not have to pay it because of the poor state of their neighbourhood.

But Environment Minister Phil Hogan said improvements on unfinished housing developments, as well as a more comprehensive survey to identify affected properties, meant just over 5,000 homes will get a waiver for the controversial new levy.

"I would urge people not to assume that just because they were eligible for a waiver from the household charge they will be eligible for an exemption from the local property tax," he warned.

"The list has changed substantially reflecting the improvements made by local authorities in resolving problems in unfinished housing developments. There is plenty of information out there."

Homeowners on existing or former ghost estates have been urged to contact their local authority or check their local authority website for a list of developments which are covered by the property tax exemption.

A Department of Environment spokesman admitted it had taken a "scattergun" approach to issuing waivers for the temporary household charge, exempting properties en masse even if only one house was unfinished on an estate.

"We were up against it time-wise and that was the political decision that was taken, to go in and exempt them all," he said.

A new survey last summer has vastly reduced the number of eligible properties officially classified as being on an "unfinished housing estate" under legislation, the Finance (Local Property Tax) Regulations. Charge)


From Belfast Telegraph